Exclusive: Self-proclaimed 'subway surfer' talks about his life-threatening hobby
A trend on social media known as subway surfing has cost two teens their lives. Police say two 15-year-olds died just months apart from each other while riding on top of the J-Train crossing the Williamsburg Bridge.
Arthur Graves knew the two teens who passed away. He says Kavon Wooden and Zakery Nazario were like brothers to him. The 19-year-old has been ‘subway surfing’ since he was 15-years-old, and says the group he surfs with feels like a ‘family’. Despite the deaths of his two friends he continues to ride on top of the train as a way to escape stress.
MTA officials say they experienced a 160% increase in subway surfing during the spring and summer of 2022 compared to 2019. They attribute the increase to social media sites like Tik Tok and Instagram. The transit system says they’ve reached out to the social media companies to try and take down videos encouraging teens to surf.
And while social media plays a role in subway surfing, so does peer pressure. Ryan Terry, says he was coerced into subway surfing years ago. He says the transit community has become negative and encourages teens to stop riding on top of the train cars.
The NYPD says they are doing their best to stop the dangerous activity by deploying 1000 officers to the train stations each day along with an additional 1200 tours to keep stations safe and and those attempting to break the law away.